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A Lesson Of Tolerance

05/10/2002
Staff Writer

Speaking before several dozen people munching on babaganoush and taboule and chatting away in Arabic, Hebrew, Spanish and English, the Lebanese novelist Elias Khoury invoked the hallowed name of Al-Andalus.

"And if we do not find it, we can build it in our hearts," he said at the reception for a literary event last week in the Soho studio of Iraqi-born sculptor Oded Halahmy.

Lens Of The City

05/03/2002
Staff Writer

Hoping to stir up a little debate on a somewhat taboo topic, art critic Max Kozloff has mounted a historical exhibition of street photography that dares to define a Jewish aesthetic. "New York: Capital of Photography," at The Jewish Museum through September, argues that there're two kinds of New York photography: Jewish and gentile.

"It's totally provocative," Kozloff says, chuckling to himself during an interview at the press opening.

Hatred Of Convention

02/22/2002
Staff Writer

A few years ago, Jane DeLynn was having a hard time selling her most recent novel. Commercial publishers were not lining up to buy “Leash,” a nihilistic story of a lesbian’s sadomasochism, with the shocking conclusion of her opting to have her hands bound and her vocal cords cut to live her life as a dog.

An admired, if not widely known, author of three novels and a story collection, DeLynn decided her best option was to go with Semiotext(e), an obscure but influential publisher of French theory and avant-garde literature.

The Man In The Audience

02/15/2002
Staff Writer

How do you measure intellectual influence? Richard Posner, author of the hotly debated new book “Public Intellectuals,” rates 546 public intellectuals by media mentions, Web hits and scholarly citations from 1995-2000. Certainly, top scorers like Henry Kissinger (12,570) and Salman Rushdie (7,688) occupy large space in current public discourse, but what about someone like Robert Warshow, a cultural critic who died in 1955 at the age of 37? He nets a paltry cumulative score of 190.

Into The Mystic

05/02/2003
Staff Writer

The models and movie stars filing past the phalanx of flashbulbs at the New Museum last week had not come to see the latest exhibition of contemporary art or next fall's fashions. They had been invited to the book launch party for "The 72 Names of God: Technology for the Soul," the latest publication from the Kabbalah Centre International.

Klezmer Lost, Klezmer Found

02/26/2003

Smoked fish and klezmer are two sure signs of a happy Jewish occasion. But as author Thane Rosenbaum discovered, klezmer provides more than a soundtrack for simchas.

In his 2002 novel "Golems of Gotham," a ninth-grade violin prodigy named Ariel raises the spirits of the dead with her impassioned playing of rarely heard klezmer tunes to spellbound crowds outside of Zabar's, the smoked-fish mecca on Upper Broadway.

Jersey Poet Laureate Unrepentant

09/27/2002
Staff Writer

Newark, N.J. — Controversial New Jersey poet laureate Amiri Baraka, whose recent poem “Somebody Blew Up America” suggested that Israel knew in advance about the Sept. 11 terror attacks, blasted his Jewish critics Wednesday, calling the Anti-Defamation League “the voice of imperialism.”

Baraka is refusing to resign his post despite calls from New Jersey Gov. James McGreevey that he step down, adding Wednesday, “I will not apologize.”

Will The Circle Be Unbroken?

11/01/2002
Staff Writer

The Workmen’s Circle/Arbeiter Ring started more than a century ago in a tenement on the Lower East Side. It developed over the decades from a mutual-aid society for immigrants into an activist organization bristling with radical ideologies and aimed at promoting secular Jewish education. Next week, the group marks the start of its second century with a celebration of Yiddish culture at Town Hall.

N.J. Eyes Bill To Oust Baraka

10/11/2002
Staff Writer

New Jersey poet laureate Amiri Baraka says he will fight legislation aimed at removing him from the state-appointed position, telling The Jewish Week Tuesday he was prepared to take legal action if a bill being drafted this week in the state Senate passes. “I certainly will sue,” he said Tuesday by phone from his home in Newark.

Legal experts say the controversial poet could have a good case on free-speech grounds.

Klezmer City

09/27/2002
Staff Writer

Constanza Garcia was looking to book New York performances for “Klezmer en Buenos Aires” — a tango-inflected klezmer duo that she promotes. She immediately thought of Makor, the cultural center on the Upper West Side that caters to Jews in their 20s and 30s.

“I thought Makor would be the right place for klezmer,” Garcia says. But Makor passed.

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